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16 August, 2007

Independence Day

By Amitava Kumar


Title: Jashn-e-Azadi; Kashmir poll on azadi; 13 December: A Reader

By: Sanjay Kak; Indian Express-CNN/IBN; Various

I’m writing this on August 15. It is our Independence Day. A young Kashmiri Muslim told me in Srinagar a few months ago that this is the day on which everyone there tries to stay indoors. This is not because the people support Pakistan, but because they are most suspect on August 15. You are questioned, searched, and locked. If any of the readers have had a chance to view Sanjay Kak’s powerful documentary Jashn-e-Azadi (How We Celebrate Freedom) you’ll see how Sanjay, coming in to Srinagar for a visit around Independence Day, is struck by the fact that the only people present for the ceremony are the cops and members of the armed forces. (That’s Rave Out #1. For Jashn-e-Azadi.)

Last week’s announcement of the Indian Express-CNN/IBN poll, that an overwhelming majority of Kashmiris in the valley want azadi, also underlines the importance of a genuine rethinking on the question of independence rather than empty, nationalist sabre-rattling. (Anyway, that’s Rave Out #2. For Indian Express and CNN/IBN, as well as the good folk at CSDS who designed the poll.)

This is a good day for re-opening the pages of 13 December: A Reader, in which thirteen writers and journalists point out the injustice involved in the quick media-lynching of SAR Geelani and the denial of a fair trial to Afzal Guru. (This would be Rave Out #3, for the book, although wouldn’t it be great if the book weren’t needed?)

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